CHICAGO — The Theatre School at DePaul University presents “Night
Runner,” a world premiere by Ike Holter and directed by Lisa Portes, with
musical direction by Mikel Patrick Avery, choreography by Breon Arzell, and
fight choreography by Katherine Coyl. “Night Runner” is a part of The Theatre
School’s Chicago Playworks for Families and Young Audiences Series.
The production tells the story of Cora, an enslaved 12-year-old, and
the Night Runner, the mythic but dark figure who shows her the way. When a
cruel slave owner arrives and snatches Cora’s brother Marcus in exchange for
debt, Cora flees to find him. In steps the legendary Night Runner, a fierce,
fast-talking female superhero, who helps Cora escape to freedom and discover
her own inner strength. “Night Runner” is recommended for ages 9 and up.
Complimentary teacher guides for “Night Runner” are available online
for educators and interested audience members. Guides include activities and
discussions for before and after the performance, which highlight core learning
goals. Themes from this production include: family, historical fiction, oppression,
perseverance, racism, self-discovery, slavery and the Underground Railroad.
“Night Runner” opens Jan. 12 and runs through Feb. 18 at DePaul’s
historic Merle Reskin Theatre. Performances are Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10
a.m. and Saturdays 2 p.m. Special Friday performances will occur Feb. 3 and Feb.
10 at 10 a.m. A Sunday performance will be held Feb. 5 at 2 p.m. There is no
Saturday performance Feb. 4.
The performances on Feb. 10 and Feb. 11 will be interpreted in American
Sign Language. Call TTY: 773-325-7975. Jan. 14 is USO of Illinois Day. U.S.
Armed Forces personnel and their families with a valid military ID may attend
the performance for free. Visit www.tixfortroops.org to reserve tickets, or
call the box office at 312-922-1999 for more information. Join the cast for an
autograph session after the performance on Jan. 14. The performances on Jan. 26
and Feb. 5 will be followed by a post-show discussion.
Tickets are $10. Subscriptions and group rates for 15 or more people
are available. DePaul employees, alumni and college students receive a discount
with ID. Tickets are available online or by calling the box office at 312-922-1999.
DePaul’s Merle Reskin Theatre is located at 60 E. Balbo Drive at
Michigan Avenue. For information about parking or transportation, please
contact the box office.
The cast features Vincent Banks (Danson/ Zachariah/ Ensemble), Matthew
Elam (Marcus), Kayla Forde (Cora), Edward Hall (Mr. Lexington), Tia Jemison
(Bessie/Ensemble), Courtney Peck (Angela/ Rose/ Ensemble), Michael Russo
(Luke), Sola Thompson (Night Runner), Noelle Daniels (ensemble), Ki-Jana Moore
(ensemble) and Jack Rhea (ensemble).
The production staff includes Lisa Portes (director), Mikel Patrick
Avery (musical director), Breon Arzell (choreographer), Katherine Coyl (fight choreographer),
Camila Devereux (scenic designer), Megan Pirtle (costume designer), Eric
Phillips (lighting designer), Kendall Barron (sound designer), Rachel Perzynski
(dramaturg), and Cat Andrade (stage manager).
About the Playwright: Ike
Holter is an alumnus of The Theatre School at DePaul University. His work has
been produced at Steppenwolf Garage, A Red Orchid, Barrow Street, Primary Stages,
Lily Tomlin Theater, Philadelphia Theater Company, The New Colony, Jackalope
Theater, Nothing Without a Company, and The Inconvenience, where he is a founding
member. Holter has received fellowships and commissions from Goodman Theatre,
Studio Theater, the Kennedy Center, Writers Theater, Teatro Vista and
Playwrights Center. Holter was recently named one of Victory Gardens Theater’s newest
ensemble playwrights, and his show “The Wolf at the End of the Block” will open
in their upstairs theatre this winter, presented by Teatro Vista and directed
by Ricardo Gutierrez.
About the Director: Lisa
Portes serves as the head of directing at The Theatre School. Primarily a
director of new plays and musicals, her work has been seen regionally at the
Kennedy Center, South Coast Repertory Theatre's Hispanic Playwrights Project,
McCarter Theatre Lab, A Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Ford's Theatre
in Washington, D.C., Sundance Theatre Lab, Cape Cod Theatre Project, Santa
Barbara Theatre Lab and the Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference. In New York, her work has been seen at
Playwrights Horizons, Soho Rep, New York Theatre Workshop, Public Theatre, Flea
Theatre and Cherry Lane Alternative Theatre. Her Chicago Playworks for Families
and Young Audiences credits include: “Barrio Grrrl: A Musical” by Quiara
Alegría Hudes, “Pinkalicious” by Elizabeth and Victoria Kahn, “Cinderella Eats
Rice and Beans: A Salsa Musical” by Karen Zacarías, and “Highest Heaven” by
José Cruz Gonzalez. Portes lives in Bridgeport, Illinois, with her husband,
playwright Carlos Murillo, and their two children.
The Theatre School at DePaul University trains students to the highest
level of professional skill and artistry in an inclusive and diverse
conservatory setting. Additional information is at http://theatre.depaul.edu.